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Arts Culture Gone With The Wind, The Heiress, and More: 6 Olivia de Havilland Movies We Can't Forget

Gone With The Wind, The Heiress, and More: 6 Olivia de Havilland Movies We Can't Forget

1938:  British-born actress Olivia de Havilland adorned with flowers.  (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
John Kobal Foundation / Getty Images
By Ryanne Co
By Ryanne Co
July 29, 2020
Olivia de Havilland was one of Hollywood's most memorable talents, shining bright at a time many considered as the industry's Golden Age

Olivia de Havilland, the last surviving cast member of Gone With The Wind, has recently passed away. Reports claim that the two-time Oscar winner died peacefully in her Parisian estate at the age of 104. While fans and well-wishers mourn her passing, it's brought on a resurgence of appreciation for her timeless works filmed during Hollywood's Golden Age. Acting alongside other legends such as Errol Flynn and Clark Gable, de Havilland's legacy will continue on for the next hundred years in these inspiring and heartfelt movies we all know and love. 

Read also: 10 Classic Movies To Rewatch On Netflix

Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938)

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Before Gone With The Wind, de Havilland had been famous for playing Maid Marian in Michael Curtiz and William Keighley's 1938 adaptation of The Adventures Of Robin Hood. In the film, de Havilland acted alongside Errol Flynn (who played the titular character), with whom she shared great chemistry. The two have worked together in a total of eight films, with this one being the fifth they shared together. 

The Adventures Of Robin Hood brought romance to the forefront of the silver screen and featured dramatic costume design alongside swashbuckling action and a swoon-worthy romance. American film critic, Roger Ebert described the film as something that "exists in an eternal summer of bravery and romance." 



Gone With The Wind (1939)

Photo: Selznick International Pictures
Photo: Selznick International Pictures

Although Gone With The Wind was first released in 1939, its name continues to be echoed in film circles to this day. Based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind tells the story of Scarlett O'Hara, a southern belle portrayed by Vivien Leigh, whose life has been upended by the Civil War. In the movie, fans can see de Havilland as Melanie Hamilton Wilkes, O'Hara's sister-in-law turned best friend. 

Though the film has can be criticised for its regressive characterisations of slaves, Leigh and de Havilland do give some of their best performances in the film. The movie itself has also received some of the most prestigious awards including Academy Awards for "Best Film Editing", "Best Production Design", "Best Picture", and "Best Director". 

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Hold Back The Dawn (1941)

Photo: Paramount Pictures
Photo: Paramount Pictures

A complicated love story told through the eyes of a schoolteacher, Hold Back The Dawn is a cynical yet heartfelt melodrama that earned de Havilland an Oscar nomination for "Best Actress". A teacher in a Mexican border town, de Havilland's character, Emmy Brown falls in love with Georges Iscovescu (Charles Boyer), a desperate man in need of a green card. Without knowing his true intentions, Emmy marries Georges — but as with most love stories, things start to get complicated when Georges develops feelings for Emmy. 


To Each His Own (1946)

Photo: Paramount Pictures
Photo: Paramount Pictures

To Each His Own won de Havilland her first "Best Actress" Oscar in 1947. In it, she plays Jody Norris, a middle-aged American who meets Lord Desham, played by Roland Culver, in London. As Jody recalls her youth, it is revealed to us that she had fallen in love with a pilot who died in the war. Pregnant and scared, she had given birth to the pilot's son and given it up for adoption to her best friend, yet had tried to regain custody over him. Years later, as Jody's son returns to London as a pilot himself, Lord Desham intervenes to help Jody in her plight. 

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The Snake Pit (1948)

Photo: Twentieth Century-Fox Pictures
Photo: Twentieth Century-Fox Pictures

Tackling the issues of mental health, The Snake Pit revolves around de Havilland's character, Virginia Cunningham, who finds herself in a mental institution yet uncertain of how she got there. Without her memory, she begins to depend on Dr. Mark Kik who helps her uncover the roots of her precarious mental state. Told mostly in flashbacks, The Snake Pit is a narrative of complicated romance that blossoms amidst a time when mental health remained a taboo. 


The Heiress (1949)

Photo: Paramount Pictures
Photo: Paramount Pictures

The Heiress, released in 1949, was the movie that nabbed de Havilland her second "Best Actress" Oscar. In it, she plays Catherine Sloper, a shy heiress, who falls in love with Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift). The heiress' father suspects that Townsend is only after Catherine's money yet the headstrong girl still continues to pursue a relationship with her love. 

Dramatic yet entertaining, The Heiress remains as one of de Havilland's most memorable movies. 

Read also: Wizard Of Oz, Vertigo, Casablanca, And More: 13 Old Hollywood Movies To Rewatch ASAP


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